The Voice

Rocking Rooney

Achintya Pinninti, Staff Writer

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My first big dream in life was to be a professional ballerina. I kind of achieved this, when I was in my early 20s. I danced in front of 500 people on a stage in toe shoes, which was very exciting.

I would like to believe that I could’ve went to the next level. However, I feel like I started too late at the age of 17. In that profession, you have to start by the time you’re 10.

My parents didn’t have enough money for dance classes, so I started when I went to junior college. I was exploring classes, while I was finishing my education. Then I discovered Gloria Mohr, an amazing teacher and prima ballerina at the New York City Ballet company.

I don’t think I reached my potential in that realm because I get distracted, and there were a lot of things going on in my life at that time. [To be successful,] you have to take dance classes everyday. I realized that I would be poor and would have to devote 8 hours a day to ballet practice, which is very difficult if you have to support yourself. It’s not only about the money, but also the time that you spend pouring in all of your energy which I did until the age of 23.

I like ballet because it’s great for your posture and an overall workout for your body. You get to listen to classical music and try to perfect and excel your dance because it’s all about excellence, as it is a very technical dance.

I think it is always important to follow your passion, no matter what it is. Passions always change and that’s ok.

I learned to strive for excellence always in everything I do and devote time to my passion. I discovered that ballet is a very difficult type of dance because not anyone can just go and take a class and be great at it. It’s true with everything.

Sometimes, it was discouraging because it’s so hard to do well. If you’re an impatient person like me, you want to be good at something quickly. That’s not the way life is; if you want to excel, you have to practice everyday to get it just the way you like it. You have to go through those moves over and over and over, until it looks flawless to the audience, the artist may have spent hours, but what you’re seeing in that performance is the pinnacle of a person’s very being. You are seeing them at the best of who they are, kind of like on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, they have reached their self actualization.

I think the discipline required in ballet, and the striving for excellence is something that I try to do with my classes. I try to encourage my students to not just give up and to always try to do their best work possible.

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Rocking Rooney